‘If we don’t race this year, I’ll no longer have a team,’ warns Lefevere

Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss anticipates a swathe of teams shuttering if racing doesn't resume this year.

While the verdict is still out on the newly revised UCI calendar — a calendar that packs three grand tours in with all of cycling’s monuments into a three-month period — at least one team manager is relieved.

“If we don’t race this year, I’ll no longer have a team,” Deceunink-Quick-Step’s Patrick Lefevere told TV show Extra Time Koers on Wednesday.

With the coronavirus crisis forcing the great majority of bike races to be canceled or postponed this year, the UCI finally announced a new calendar on Tuesday. But while there is general consensus that there is a need to race, some worry that races like the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España will suffer, as numerous classics like the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, will be held simultaneously.

“I’m known as the most critical person in the cycling world, but I will not complain about the calendar,” Lefevere said. “In the current circumstances, we should be humble and pray that we can still race this year.”

Lefevere added that while certain teams like Team Ineos are financially secure, others, like certain French teams, are receiving funding from the state and will struggle without the sponsor visibility offered in racing. “Fifty percent of the teams will disappear from the peloton,” he said. “My team will be in trouble.”

“I’m not stupid,” Lefevere added. “I am an accountant by training, and have been in the sport for 40 years. If there is no racing anymore, many cycling teams will die.